In This Issue

From Pastor Sam
August Worship Schedule
COVID Vaccine Help
Family Ministry
Bethlehem Serves 2022
Pacifica Synod Study Series
Pastor Laura's Anniversary
Adventure Ministry
Music Ministry
Stephen Ministry
Stewardship Stream
ELCA Advocacy
Engagement Opportunities
Pastor Sam's Sermon Blog
Global Mission "Global Links"
Bethlehem Cares Fund
Newsletter Archives
Contact Us

Rev. Laura Ziehl 
Senior Pastor 
Ext 2
Pastor Sam Nelson
Associate Pastor
Ext 30
Constance Mithelman
Youth Director
Ext 12
Judy Foland
Office Administrator
Ext 1 
August 2022
News and Events
In the process of writing a sermon for Sunday morning there is often quite a bit that ends up on the cutting room floor. Whether it’s cut for time, or because the sermon ended up going in a slightly different direction (they have a way of developing and changing even as you are writing them), or you just can’t quite make that particular story/idea work, I will often end up with a document in the same folder as my sermon for that week that has the same title as the sermon with the word “trimmings” added to the end. Sometimes those trimmings become the seed for my next sermon on that particular text/story. Sometimes they languish in digital purgatory on my computer. And sometimes they become a newsletter article!

A few weeks ago, I preached on the story of Mary and Martha hosting Jesus in their home, and I shared that, as a life-long Martha, I really struggle with this story. I am so quick to come to her defense (and thus defend myself as well) that I often miss what Jesus is really getting at – the importance of slowing down, of taking time to be present, and of not letting our to-do lists run us ragged.
When I was in seminary, the summer before I went on internship, I was a part of a group called the ELCA Global Youth Plunge (thankfully you just had to be under 30 to qualify as a “youth”) and we visited the Taizé monastery in France. Their community holds three worship services a day (morning, midday, and evening), and during each service there is a period of 10 minutes of silence where you are asked to sit in reflective meditation. Our group was there for a week, and the first day or two we would be squirming in our seats by minute four or five – just dying for it to be over. But by the end of the week, we came to crave that 10-minute escape, that respite from the world. It was a chance empty our minds, to let go of any worries or preoccupations for just a moment, and simply be. Afterwards, we felt revitalized and renewed as we resumed our daily tasks and responsibilities.

I’ve found the same to be true with the meditation practice that Alissa and I do before bed every night. We do a 10-minute guided meditation using the Headspace app on her phone. Pro-tip: They offer free subscriptions for teachers, and I would highly recommend checking it out! It’s a way of clearing our heads before bed. It sort of acts as this threshold between sleep and the rest of our day. But when Alissa went out of town the other week, I decided that I would give myself the night off and skip it. I am here to tell you; I had the absolute worst time falling asleep that night. My mind just would not shut up. You forgot to text so and so. You need to write this email. You need to remember to make that change to the bulletin. Remember to do this when you set up for VBS tomorrow. What if you talked about x, y, or z in your sermon? Remember that time the teacher yelled at you in 3rd grade, and you were embarrassed? On and on and on. Lesson learned. The next night I asked for her log in and started up our practice again by myself.

Now yes, I know that many of you are so overworked and overextended that the idea of finding time to do this is laughable. And I’ve said before that God doesn’t just come to us in the peaceful, serene moments of our lives, but in the chaos and noise as well. So, if this stresses you out, please just keep scrolling. But I will also say that I have rarely ever just “found” time in my schedule for self-care. There is always something else that I could be doing, some other task that I’ve forgotten. And when it comes down to it, I need to make that time for myself. We need to make time for our own personal well-being. Because God created us so that we might have abundant life, and that we might flourish, and that has more to do with the quality of our lives, than it does with the quantity of our output.

In peace, Pastor Sam
August Worship Schedule
Sunday Morning Worship:

  • August 7, 14, 21, & 28
  • 9 and 10:30 am

Worship takes place in the sanctuary for both services, and there is the option to sit outside in the eco-narthex as well. The livestream takes place during the 10:30 AM service.
COVID Vaccine Help
If you need help navigating the Covid-19 vaccine sign up process, we are here to help. Our Stephen Ministry/Parish Nurse team can assist with:

  • Finding out your eligibility to receive a vaccine.
  • Helping you find a vaccination site and make an appointment.
  • Assisting with transportation to the site.

Please call the church office, (760) 753-1026, and we will get you the help you need.

Family Ministry
Join us for Beach Wednesdays at Moonlight! All youth (7th-12th grade) are invited to gather at Moonlight Wednesdays from 3-6 pm ending at Cali Cream (formerly Handels). Find us right under the big palm tree!

(Note: There will not be a gathering Wednesday, August 3rd.)

Bethlehem Serves 2022
Bethlehem Serves will be on Sunday, September 11th. This is a Sunday where congregational members come to church and participate in a community service project for the morning. Projects will include onsite projects: School Bags, 1st Responders, Plants to the Neighbors, Car Wash, and Prayer Shawl Ministry. Offsite projects will be Community Resource Center, Ocean Knoll Children's Garden, Ocean Knoll Farm, and Beach Clean-up and Chimes for the Seniors.

Signups for the various projects will be in person and online beginning August 21. There will be a short service at 9:00 a.m. at church before leaving for the service projects. At the end of the morning, participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch and lawn chair and enjoy some fellowship with each other! Mona and Steve Goetsch are in charge this year and can be contacted at or Contributions for Bethlehem Serves may be made online as a one-time event. 

Pacifica Synod Study Series
Now Is the Time - The Pacifica Synod Anti-Racism Team is offering a study series called "Now Is the Time" for leaders and lay members interested in promoting racial justice within their communities, congregations, and throughout the ELCA. 
The study series will take place on Zoom over five consecutive Wednesday evenings starting August 17 through September 14, 2022.
For more information and to register contact Terri Robertson at

Pastor Laura's Ordination Anniversary
Join us on Sunday, August 28, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Pastor Laura's Ordination. There will be special music and a presentation at both the 9 am and 10:30 Sunday morning worship services and a picnic on the lawn after the 10:30 service. Bring your own food and drink. We'll supply the cake and water.

Twenty-five years ago, on August 30, 1997, Pastor Laura was ordained at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Everett WA. We called her to Bethlehem in 2008 and she started in June. She has spent more than half of her ministry years here! Help us celebrate this milestone and honor her years of leadership and service to God.
We are also creating a memory book for Pastor Laura with photos, notes, stories, and memories. If you have photos you would like to share for the celebration, please contact Carolin Meinhardt.

If you would like to contribute to a special gift for Pastor Laura, you can make a check payable to Bethlehem Lutheran and write "Pastor Laura 25" on the For line. If you use Vanco or online, select the Special Gift tile and note that your gift is for "Pastor Laura 25."

Questions? Contact Suzi Westmoreland.
Adventure Ministry
Adventure Ministry Mission Bay Bike Ride - Saturday, September 24, 2022
Our next Adventure Ministry event will be a bike ride around Mission Bay. The ride is 7 to 8 miles long on flat terrain and takes no more than 1-1/2 hours. We will stop at various points along the way to enjoy the beautiful views of water and wildlife. Meet at Bethlehem at 9 am to caravan to Mission Bay or meet directly at Mission Bay at 10 am.

We strongly recommend that you wear a helmet and sunscreen. Bring water and snacks. Bring a lunch, too, for our after-ride gathering. 
Let us know if you need to rent a bike. There is a rental facility along the route where you can rent a beach cruiser for $15 for two hours.
Stay tuned for more details next month.
Follow this link to sign up and join us:
Questions? Contact Dennis Astroth or Suzi Westmoreland or send an email to

Music Ministry
Church at Moonlight Beach - September 25 - Bethlehem and St. Andrews will join forces for its annual Beach Service on Sunday, September 25 @ 10:30 a.m. The Good News Singers and World Music Ensemble will combine with St. Andrew musicians to provide music for the outdoor service. 

Stephen Ministry
What would I Say to a Stephen Minister? How could one help me? Why would I confide in a stranger?
In our society we are taught to keep our worries and troubles private, to not admit weakness, and to solve problems by ourselves. But, sometimes having someone trustworthy to share your concerns with can ease your journey and help you recover quicker.
A Stephen Minister is not a therapist or a professional counselor. In fact, a Stephen Minister generally does not work with someone who needs professional help. A Stephen Minister is a member of the congregation who has been trained by Stephen Leaders to care for a person who is going through one of life’s crises, like illness, divorce, grief, or unemployment.
A Stephen Minister is an individual who is particularly loving, patient, prayerful, and encouraging. They are trained to listen non-judgmentally, to maintain strict confidentiality, and to support you as you work your own way through a difficult situation. Most importantly, each Stephen Minister has a deep desire to be of comfort and service to others and consider it a great honor to be trusted enough to be allowed into a caring relationship with you.
And, once you have met them they are no longer strangers.
If you would like to know more about Stephen Ministry please speak with Pr Laura, Pr Sam, or one of our Stephen Leaders, Molly Hall or Laure Reynolds, or visit the Stephen Ministry website at

Stewardship Stream
In May, Bethlehem hosted a seminar about legacy giving. Our speaker was Lisa Higginbotham, a Regional Gift Planner from the ELCA Foundation who consults without fee with those interested in making sure their estate reflects their wishes and is efficient in its benefits. (You can still reach her at
This kind of legacy planning by faithful members of our community has helped our Bethlehem Mission Endowment Fund grow significantly the last several years and, as a result, funded grants totaling over $35,000 in just the last 3.5 years! But you should also know that the Endowment Fund is open to receive gifts pre-legacy – before one rises again – which has the extra benefit of the giver seeing her/his funds put to use. We were reminded of this possibility in July with a generous gift to the Endowment Fund by Bob Michelet and Darren Thompson! We are so grateful for the opportunity to put this gift to work in future grants and inspired by their generosity!
Thank you for your ongoing, everyday financial support of Bethlehem, and for your consideration of the long-term difference that gifts to the Endowment Fund can be.
ELCA Advocacy
Bishop Eaton’s Statement on the killing of Jayland Walker - We, as a church, must join in the call to reform our police forces to ensure that they not only continue to serve and protect but also serve everyone in our communities, regardless of skin color, ethnic background, gender identity, sexuality or creed. We call on the U.S. Senate, following the action already taken by the House, to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and for the enactment of similar police reform proposals under consideration at the state level, such as HB 1267, passed into law in 2021 in Washington state.” Read the full statement here.
Success in our advocacy for funding to support Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem! - In a July 18 letter to President Biden, Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, expressed gratitude for his July 15 visit to the Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem and his announcement of a $100 million multiyear commitment to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, of which Augusta Victoria is a member. Read Bishop Eaton’s letter here.
“Advocacy in Quarantine” - Every Wednesday at noon - AiQ returns on August 3, 2022. Join this weekly Zoom meeting to hear an update from Regina Q. Banks, Director of the Lutheran Office of Public Policy-California about the current status of issues and bills we are following. These quick 30-minutes sessions include a specific action you can take in support of our efforts to end child poverty, fight for water justice, and support equitable reform of housing, hunger, and immigration policies.
August Recess Opportunities - August Recess is a congressional tradition that brings heightened opportunities to reach out to your federal lawmakers where you – and they – live. U.S. representatives traditionally return to their home districts in this month to engage with their constituents. Learn ways that you can express your policy concerns directly to your legislators during this time.
ELCA launches “Advocacy Café” - Join an Advocacy Cafe gathering to hear from ELCA advocacy community leaders about timely topics. The 30-minute presentations will be offered twice on the same day. The day sessions will wrap-up with 15-minutes for a Q&A session with panelists. The evening sessions will wrap-up differently, with 25 minutes to meet in a small group with others to exchange experiences and ideas.
ELCA Advocacy Monthly Updates
Follow us!
Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton: Facebook, Twitter
Pacifica Synod: Facebook, Twitter
Opportunities to Engage
Qigong/Tai chi -The weekly Qigong/Tai chi practices at our church is available by Zoom. You are able to join online from your computer on Wednesdays at 6 pm. Also, Chacha is having a Friday at 9 am practice by Zoom.

These practices are moving meditation practices that focus on relaxation, breath, and visualization while carrying out gentle movements. Everyone is welcome, no previous experience is necessary. If you are interested in joining please e-mail Chacha at Please let her know which of the practices or if you would like to be invited to both practices. She will send an e-mail invitation with the zoom link. 

Scraps and Prayers - This ministry sews quilts for people in need of comfort and care. We meet each Wednesday morning from 9am-11am in the Multi-Use Room. We need your help sewing and tying quilts. No experience necessary! Stop by for an hour or stay for the whole morning; we'd love to share our scraps and prayers with you. For more information, contact Bobby Allen at or Laure Reynolds at

 Pastor Sam's Sermon Blog
Did you miss one of Pastor Sam's sermons? Want to double check if he actually said what you think he did? Accidentally fall asleep and want to go back and read the section you missed? Check out all of Pastor Sam's sermons on his blog at:
Global Mission "Global Links" E-Newsletter
Rooted and built in Jesus! This is the core of our work as the ELCA walks with more than 80 companion churches in other countries to participate in God's reconciling mission through proclamation and service. Participating in these relationships, ELCA members see how people's lives are touched by the gospel, how their lives are transformed and renewed, and how their communities live in hope. If you would like to receive the ELCA Global Mission e-newsletter "Global Links", please click on the following link to subscribe:

Bethlehem Cares Fund
Bethlehem Cares Fund: For members of Bethlehem, we have a fund to assist you with temporary financial needs such as medical, home, family or personal needs.Contact Pastor Laura, Pastor Sam, Rose Moldenhauer or Molly Hall. If you are able to contribute to the fund please mark your gift to BLC with the notation Bethlehem Cares.

Newsletters Available on Our Website
Have you missed one of our monthly e-newsletters? Have you wished you could open up that newsletter again to get that bit of information you were looking for? Well, now you can. On our Newsletter Archive page there are links available to view current and past newsletters.

Bethlehem is now participating in the AmazonSmile program. This is a great way to easily benefit our congregation when you are shopping online.
Bethlehem will receive 0.5% of the price of eligible online purchases automatically when you use the website. See the website for more details.